Joe Oxley was elected to a second term as Chairman of the Monmouth County Republican Organization this evening.
Oxley bested Howell Township Chairman John Costigan 188-153.
In her nominating speech for Oxley, Freeholder Director Lillian Burry told the assembled county committee members that she was "not asking them to vote against John Costigan" but rather for the strength and stability that Oxley has provided "as we prepare to take our government back, I mean the one in Washington."
Jennifer DiLorenzo, the Monmouth Beach Municipal Chairwoman, seconded Oxley's nomination by reading a statement from CD-6 GOP nominee Anna Little asking the committee to reelect Oxley.
Costigan told the committee of the difference he has made throughout 40 years as a volunteer for Republican causes and promised to export the successes he has worked for throughout the county. He was particularly critical of the candidate selection process that Oxley implemented over the last two years, declaring, "Anna Little should not have had to defeat the Monmouth County line." He promised to bring back the convention system.
During his speech, Oxley reminded the committee of what has been accomplished during the last two years under his leadership; the restoration of a sound financial footing, and the huge plurality for Governor Christie last year, and the winning of control in 8 Monmouth towns. Oxley acknowledged the controversy over the candidate selection process and quoted Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
He said that he needed to "stop the bleeding" when he became chairman. That the three conventions held by his two predecessors had resulted in the loss of three Freeholder seats and thus the loss of control of the county government. He said the screening committee of 92 people he implemented which includes all municipal chairs, all past and present elected county and state level officials from the county has worked. He said he envisioned the party emerging into a system like Ocean County's that includes both a screening committee and county committee convention.
Despite the closeness of the vote, 10% is a small margin, especially considering that Oxley won by acclamation two years ago, and despite the fact that we just came off a hard fought primary in the Monmouth dominated 6th district, there was no sense of disunity in the convention when the vote was announced. Costigan was gracious and pledged his continued hard work and support.
Oxley nominated Diane Gooch for a second term as Vice Chair, which the convention approved by acclamation.
Oxley ended the evening by welcoming the many new committee members, quite a few of whom are Tea Party activists. Oxley declared that "we need their energy and commitment."
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Pallone's Town Hall Meeting, Red Bank, August 25, 2009